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Cyprus - Consular Information Sheet
June 22, 2001

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Cyprus is a developed Mediterranean island nation divided "de facto" into two areas. The government of the Republic of Cyprus is the internationally recognized authority on the island but, in practice, its control extends only to the Greek Cypriot southern part of the island. The northern area operates under an autonomous Turkish-Cypriot administration. In 1983, this administration declared itself the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus," which is only recognized by Turkey. Facilities for tourism in the Republic of Cyprus are highly developed. Most facilities in north Cyprus, while adequate, tend to be smaller and less modern.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required for travel to Cyprus. Tourist and business visas are issued at the port of entry for a stay of up to three months. For further information on entry requirements for Cyprus, travelers can contact the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus at 2211 R Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20008, tel: (202) 462-5772, or the Consulate in New York, 13 E. 40th St., New York, New York, 10016, tel: (212) 686-6016. The Embassy's Internet address is http://www.cyprusembassy.org, or e-mail info@us.cyprusembassy.org.

Since 1974, the Cypriot government has designated Larnaca and Paphos international airports, and the seaports of Limassol, Larnaca, and Paphos, as the only legal points of entry into and exit from Cyprus. These ports are all in the government-controlled southern part of the island. Entry or exit via any other air or seaport is not authorized by the Cypriot government. It is possible for visitors to arrive at non-designated airports and seaports in the north, but they should not expect to cross the United Nations-patrolled "green line" to the government-controlled areas in the south. Such travel is not permitted by the government of Cyprus, even for transit purposes. Visitors arriving through designated ports of entry in the south normally are able to cross into the north for day trips. Policy and procedures regarding such travel are subject to change.

In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.

DUAL NATIONALITY: In addition to being subject to all Cypriot laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may also be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Cyprus citizens. U.S. citizens whom the Cypriot government considers to be Cypriot citizens may be subject to compulsory military service and other aspects of Cypriot law while in Cyprus. Those who may be affected should inquire at the Cypriot Embassy regarding their status. U.S. citizens whom the Turkish-Cypriot authorities consider to be "citizens" may be subject to compulsory military service in north Cyprus. For additional information, see the Consular Affairs home page on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov for our Dual Nationality flyer.

SAFETY AND SECURITY: While civil disorder is uncommon in Cyprus, demonstrations sometimes occur, and there have been occasional violent incidents along the "green line" dividing the two sides of the island. Terrorist groups from the Middle East in 1996 and previous years used Cyprus as a site for carrying out acts of terrorism against third-country targets.

CRIME: Cyprus has a low rate of crime. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.


MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical care is available at a combination of government hospitals and private clinics. Many of the private-sector doctors have been trained in the United Kingdom or the United States. While fees are generally lower than those in the U.S. medical supplies are often more expensive. In addition, ambulances do not provide medical care en route to the hospital.

MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including emergency services such as medical evacuations.

When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.

Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.

OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: The World Health Organization considers Cyprus to be one of the healthiest areas of the Mediterranean. Water supplies are potable and the refuse collection/sewage disposal system is adequate. Communicable diseases such as typhoid are rare. Allergies are commonplace due to the dry and dusty climate. Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.

TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Cyprus is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Safety Of Public Transportation: Good
Urban Road Condition/Maintenance: Good
Rural Road Condition/Maintenance: Fair
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Fair

There are few public buses and no rail lines. Taxis are widely available, but often do not have operating seat belts.

The Cypriot transportation system is comparable to that of Western Europe. Traffic moves on the left (British style), i.e. the driver sits on the right side of the front seat. Modern motorways link the major cities. Secondary roads, especially in mountainous areas, tend to be narrow and winding, and are not as well-maintained as the major highways. Traffic laws, signs and speed limits are consistent with the standards in use throughout Europe. Traffic circles (roundabouts) are often utilized at major intersections. The use of seat belts (in front seats) and child car seats is compulsory. Motorcyclists are required to wear helmets, and the use of cellular phones while driving is prohibited. Motorway speed limits are set at 100 kph (62 mph). Liability insurance is mandatory.

Enforcement of traffic laws and regulations is not as consistent as local authorities would like and the government is looking at ways to improve road safety. In recent years Cyprus has ranked among the top three countries in Europe, on a per capita basis, in regard to traffic fatalities. Speeding, tailgating, overtaking and the running of caution lights are commonplace and major causes of accidents. Emergency assistance is available by calling 199.

The information above applies only to those areas under the control of the Republic of Cyprus. Road safety conditions in north Cyprus (the Turkish-Cypriot administered areas) are similar to conditions in the south, except that the road network is less developed. Insurance purchased in the Republic of Cyprus is not valid in the Turkish-Cypriot administered areas. Emergency assistance is available by calling 155.

For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, see the
Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page
at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. For specific information concerning Cyprus driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Cyprus Tourism Organization in New York via the Internet at http://www.cyprustourism.org/.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service by local carriers at present, or economic authority to operate such service, between the U.S. and Cyprus, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Cyprus's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact DOD at (618) 229-4801.

CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Cyprus customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Cyprus of items such as firearms. There are no restrictions on religious materials and medication for personal use. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Cyprus in Washington for specific information regarding customs requirements. The U.S. Customs Service may impose corresponding import restrictions in accordance with the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act. Contact the Customs Service at 202 927-2336 or Internet http://exchanges.state.gov/education/culprop for further information.

Cyprus customs authorities encourage the use of an ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission) Carnet for the temporary admission of professional equipment, commercial samples, an/or goods for exhibitions and fair purposes. ATA Carnet Headquarters, located at the U.S. Council for International Business, 1212 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036, issues and guarantees the ATA Carnet in the United States. For additional information call 212-354-4480, send an e-mail to atacarnet@uscib.org, or visit http://www.uscib.org for details.

CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Cyprus's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, and dealing in illegal drugs in Cyprus are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: There are restrictions on the photographing of military installations in both southern and north Cyprus. English-language signs are generally posted in sensitive areas advising of the restrictions. However, visitors should refrain from photographing military installations and/or personnel regardless of whether warning signs are posted, and should comply with all reasonable requests from local authorities if confronted regarding the use of photographic equipment.

CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone (202) 736-7000.

REGISTRATION/EMBASSY AND CONSULATE LOCATIONS: Americans living in or visiting Cyprus are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Cyprus and obtain updated information on travel and security within Cyprus. The U.S. Embassy in Nicosia is located at Metochiou and Ploutarchou Street, Engomi, telephone (357)(2) 776-400; Internet address: http://www.americanembassy.org.cy. The U.S. Government also maintains an office in northern Cyprus at 6 Saran Street, Kaymakli, Nicosia, telephone (392) 225-2440.

This replaces the Consular Information Sheet issued December 27, 2000 to add information on Entry Requirements, Dual Nationality, Medical Insurance, Other Health Information, Traffic Safety and Road Conditions, Aviation Safety Oversight, Customs Regulations and to delete Y2K information.

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